Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is designed to bring targeted customers to an individual website. The ecommerce business owner pays an agreed upon amount to have this advertising placed on the web. Many PPC affiliates are beneficiaries of this type of advertising.
In essence, whenever a PPC ad is clicked the advertiser is charged a fee. From the business owners perspective this is advantageous because it is intended to bring a more targeted consumer to the site. The information does not cost the consumer anything while those who place the ad and those who agree to run the ad receive a portion of the income from each click.
Let me paint a picture for you. A competitor notices your PPC advertising on several sites. They understand the possibilities represented by your PPC advertising. They consider the possibility of making multiple clicks on your PPC advertising in an effort to drain your advertising revenue while making sure very few have the chance to actually be impacted by the advertising effort.
Some individuals have done this very thing in an act of sabotage. Why is the problem not more widespread?
The first response to that question has to do with improved detection systems within the PPC advertising community. If they can detect problems with sabotage they can work to eliminate the issue before it becomes problematic. If the PPC advertisers aren't happy then the PPC advertising agencies aren't happy. These firms continue to work toward better methods of tracking and identifying inbound traffic.
The second response to the question is that in a growing number of areas this type of activity is being prosecuted as fraud and in some areas is classified as a felony.
When you couple online pressure to provide a measure of security in PPC advertising with a judicial system that can prosecute this activity the result is a system that may not be 100% foolproof, but it does essentially level the playing field. By making PPC advertising a trusted advertising method the benefits are felt in global online business.
This type of fraud can be likened to cyber graffiti, Businesses can see the evidence, but may not be able to easily identify who caused the problem.
There may be clicks that were committed in error, but will still be counted toward your advertising payment. A person familiar with a website owner may also inadvertently cause problems by clicking on the PPC advertising knowing that the website owner will receive some income from any click-throughs on the site. Often it is the site owner that is called into account when this type of activity is noted.
If you know someone who accepts PPC advertising on their site, resist the urge to make multiple, but meaningless clicks. When you try to help a friend you are hurting a business that is paying for the clicks you commit.